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Drug Diversion Problem is Bigger Than You Think

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 5, 2014

There are more, but the point is this: The weight needs to shift so it's riskier to ignore the problem than to fight it.

Hospital Financial Survival at Stake
In an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, two anesthesiologists called the Perz and Schaefer paper "frightening," as they expanded on the financial ramifications for each hospital where such an incident took place.

"When taken in aggregate, these experiences hint at the magnitude of potential hazards that disease transmission by drug diverters…creates for not only the patients but also the financial survival of the healthcare facility," wrote Mayo Clinic anesthesiologists Keith H. Berge, MD and William L. Lanier, MD.

"The sum of awards against a given entity can potentially be an immense sum of money."

And because every facility that handles divertible drugs "is at risk for an unscrupulous HCW not only diverting drugs but doing so in a manner that could harm patients and others, then the question becomes not 'How can we afford a program to prevent and detect drug diversion by HCW's?' but instead 'How can we afford to not have such a program.' "

The answer is obvious.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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